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The Best…Red Lipsticks And How To Apply Them

With summer nearly over, and party season just around the corner it’s time to get acquainted with the latest (and greatest) red lipsticks - here’s how to choose the best red lipstick for you

Red reigns supreme as the ultimate power lip. Be it matte or glossy, berry or bright, a slick of red lipstick has the ability to instantly vamp up your look to new glamourous heights. But application can be tricky, with 6.1million of us googling ‘how to wear red lipstick’ last year alone. One second, it’s perfectly placed, the next it’s bleeding beyond the lip line. Makeup Maestro, Naoko Scintu fills us in on her top tricks to perfect the pointed power pout…

How to apply red lipstick:

Prep and prime:

A bold lip requires a smooth canvas. ‘First of all, use a good lip scrub to gently exfoliate skin’, advises Naoko Scintu, ‘this will stop the lipstick from clinging to any dry patches’. Next step? ‘Apply a nourishing lip balm to prep for colour’. Naoko loves Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm, £32 with hydrating shea butter and hyaluronic spheres – it locks in moisture, ideal for the cooler weather. ‘Before you go red, blot the excess lip balm away’, this will ensure maximum staying power. Top trick? ‘Always apply one layer of lipstick, blot this with a tissue and then reapply’. Naoko explains this will make the vibrant colour stay put and not dry out.

Bold lines:

If Marilyn Monroe’s perfected pout is the look you’re after, opt for a liner. ‘You will achieve a sharp and precise look by drawing around the lips with liner first’ says Naoko. ‘I always lightly powder around the lip line before applying liner, this will prevent the lipstick from bleeding’. So, powder, lip liner and then fill in with lipstick. For those of us with thin lips, Naoko recommends ‘applying the liner just above the edge of the lip line to give the illusion of fuller lips’. Or try Dior Addict Lip Maximizer, £26 which instantly plumps lips, thanks to hyaluronic and marine-based fillers.

Finish up:

If a bolt of red lipstick is new territory, ease your way in with a light formula. ‘Start with a lip stain, as this is quick and easy to apply with fingertips and won’t smudge’ suggests Naoko Scintu. For a completely fool-proof application use Marc Jacobs Beauty Poutliner in Invisible, £18 ‘this will hold the colour in place and prevent it from running’, says Naoko, ‘it’s honestly amazing – no more feathering!’

Grazia have rounded up the best red lipsticks that have every base covered…

What red lipstick is right for me?

Best Red Lipstick for…olive skin

‘Orange hues work great on olive skin’ says Naoko Scintu, so opt for coral and poppy shades like Sisley Le Phyto Rouge in Rouge Monaco, £38. The angled edge makes application seamless so you can forgo a liner and go straight from the bullet.

Best Red Lipstick for…dark skin

RiRi sent Fenty fans into full-on frenzy when she dropped Fenty Stunna Lip Paint, £19 last year. The vivid rich red is ‘universally flattering’, but especially stands out on dark skin tones. It dries to a soft matte finish and is super easy to apply thanks to the nifty sponge applicator.

Best Red Lipstick for…pale skin

‘Compliment fair skin by wearing cool-toned red lipsticks, and avoid warmer orange-reds’, suggests Naoko. Go for Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge in 851, £30 which feels like a balm but stays puts all day…even after dinner and cocktails.

Best Red Lipstick for…matte finish

Matte formulas don’t have to dry out lips. Case in point: Givenchy Le rouge Liquide. No.309 L’Interdit, £28, blended with smoothing Gatuline Oil and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid is so lightweight you’ll forget you even have it on.

Best Red Lipstick for gloss finish

Already own 50+ lip glosses? We like you. And you’ll love L'Oreal Chromatic Bronze Lip Strobing Gloss in Red Tonic, £9.99 with its ultra-metallic high shine finish. For more oomph, layer over your favourite scarlet lipstick.

Best Red Lipstick for easy application

Seamless lipstick application isn’t easy, but YSL Rouge Pure Couture The Slim, £29, square-cut bullet is totally foolproof. Go bold with Rouge Paradoxe.

Best drug store red lipsticks

Check out our guide to the best cheap red lipsticks here...

Red returns to the runway every season without fail and for AW18 scarlet pouts were spotted at Brandon Maxwell, Rochas and Alexander McQueen. This season conventional textures and application were challenged with rich burgundy hues and high-shine glosses. Naoko loves the graduated lip trend ‘where the strongest colour is in the centre of the lips and gradually fades outwards’. Red doesn’t have to be perfect – it can be messy, undone and faded…just have fun with it.